A few weeks ago I sent a little gift to Simy Somer. I had just received all 87 colours of Sweet Treat from Scheepjes for future design work, and had to make something immediately! Like right now now NOW! So I made a flower ring and sent it back to say thank you. This blog entry is a photo tutorial so now you can make one too!
I had a bit of Lopi lite which is Icelandic Wool - perfect for felting with, and felt is awesome to stitch or embroider in to, so I figured this would make a great centre for my flower. If you have never felted yarn before, don't worry - it's super easy!
So... Step 1: make the felted flower centre:
I used a 4.5mm hook: make a magic ring, ch3 (counts as tr), 11tr into centre of ring, ss to beg tr. [12tr] Fasten off and sew in tails. Don't fuss too much as felting is very forgiving, but it's good to make sure the centre is pulled tight and sew the starting tail across the centre to make sure it can't slip open in the felting process. This photo shows a new flower centre before the ss, and 2 previously felted discs. Take your flower centre to the sink, pump some liquid soap onto your palm with warm to hot water and rub and roll the disc vigorously between your palms for 30 seconds or so (like you are washing your hands). Stretch it a bit back into a disc shape, then go again. Repeat the rubbing and stretching a few times and in under 3 minutes your should have a felted disc like the two shown here. Rinse well in cool water and stretch into a flat shape. Put it in a hot corner or wrap it in a heated wheat bag to dry for a bit. If your felted disc is a bit "hairy", just trim any excess fuzzy fibres with needlepoint scissors before proceeding.
Some things to know: Superwash Merino will not felt, nor will acrylic. The felting yarn needs to be at least about 70% wool or alpaca (animal fibre) for it to felt. It is such a small project though, it doesn't take much to experiment.
Now for the rest of the flower, here is what I have used:
Step 2: Blanket stitch the edge of the felt disc
Step 3: Make an outer ring of 36dc for the outer petals to attach to later
(I have used a 1.5mm crochet hook for all crochet with the Sweet Treat in this project.)
(Note: I trapped my blanket stitch tails in under this round of dc to keep it neat.)
Step 4: Make an inner ring of ch-sps for the inside round of petals
Step 5: Crochet the inner round of petals
Step 6: Edge the inner petal round with contrast Yarn B
(Note: I talk about how to do the Secret Sew finish in my other blog entry Crochet Tutorial #2)
Step 7: Crochet the outer round of petals
(To do this, fold the inner round of petals down so you can see the original outer ring of 36dc we made in step 3.)
Join Yarn C in any of the outer 36 outer ring dc that is aligned behind one of the dc sts of the Step 6 (with) *dc in next dc, 1tr in next dc, 2dtr in each of next 3 dc, 1tr in next dc; rep from * 5 more times to create 6 petals that align with the inner round of petals, ss to beg dc, ch1.
This photo shows the back of this round (described in Step 7) for extra clarity.
Step 8: Edge the outer round of petals: 1ss in dc at base of ch1, (ss BLO, ch1) in next 8 sts across petal, * 1ss in next dc, (ss BLO, ch1) in next 8 sts across petal; rep from * 4 more times, Secret Sew finish.
Step 9: Stitch a flurry of French Knots in the centre of the flower.
To sew a French Knot: With your yarn secured at the back of the (felt) fabric, pull threaded needle up from the back of the fabric, wrap the yarn closest to the fabric around the tip of the needle twice, insert the wrapped needle back down to the back of the fabric as shown here, keeping downwards tension on the end that wraps the needle shaft to position the wraps at the fabric level. I use my thumb to hold it there while I pull the needle gently and firmly all the way through the fabric and 2 wraps to make a single French Knot.
Repeat, repeat, repeat with each of Yarns A, B and C until you think it looks good. Don't worry about how messy it looks at the back of the work because we will cover it in the next step.
Step 10: Make a disc to cover the wrong side of your French Knots on the back surface of the felt disc.
Step 11: The stitching and crochet are over! Now we can just glue it together.
Here are all the elements laid out:
The tube with E-6000 written on it is a special solvent based glue I got at a craft show years ago at a jewellery stall where they sold jewellery settings, and this was the glue used to attach what ever went inside the setting. It is slow to set, but works VERY well! USE GLOVES though, and work in a WELL VENTILATED AREA.
Flip the flower over to expose the messy back of the French Knots, apply some glue, attach the disc we made in Step 10, then apply another small dob of glue and attach to the ring setting (or brooch setting if that takes your fancy instead). Press firmly to carefully position the flower and disc centrally over the ring setting.
Blu-tack or a Kneaded Kneadable eraser is an excellent blob of stuff that can hold the ring upright while all the glued layers dry (many hours - I left mine overnight). I used a kneadable eraser (available from art stores) to hold my ring until it was dry, and it doesn't leave any tacky residue on the ring metal afterwards.
Here is the back of the ring:
I am glad to say that Simy loved the flower ring and told me they were totally her colours - yay! Maybe there is someone who you would like to make this little gift for? You could make a smaller ring, or a bigger brooch, or put a wire stalk down that back through the hole in the cover disc and make your own bouquet of flowers! I would love to see a bouquet of felt and crochet flowers actually.... If anyone feels that way inspired, tag me in your posts!
The biggest problem you will have is which colours to choose?
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